Wednesday, August 31, 2011
VaE: Moncoutie moves closer to fourth consecutive mountains classification, with victory on Stage 11
David Moncoutié’s efforts finally paid off, as he rode the final 19 kilometres of Stage 11 alone, to take his fourth Vuelta a Espana stage.
Moncoutié is known for his climbing prowess and moved himself within one point of a fourth consecutive Vuelta mountains classification victory. The Cofidis rider got in to a breakaway, with several other riders, after almost 70 kilometres of racing. He also went on to take points on two of the three climbs, placing him just behind Matteo Montaguti.
Cofidis have had a lacklustre year, when it comes to Grand Tours, so this victory will prove a big boost for them. Nobody could keep up with the pace of Moncoutié and second place man Beñat Intxausti rolled across the line over a minute down.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Martin rolled off the ramp over an hour down on the day’s leader, Bauke Mollema, and blasted the rest of the pack away. Fabian Cancellara was the stage’s leader, at the time, but Martin stopped the watch at 1 minute 27 seconds up on the Swiss rider. The German’s time only looked threatened when Bradley Wiggins was one seconds ahead of him, at the first intermediate checkpoint. Wiggins then faded towards the end and Martin’s time remained.
Froome was really the surprise of the day, when he came home 57 seconds down on Martin and moved in to the lead of the race. The Kenyan born rider has been on Wiggins’ side for the first week of the tour, but moves 20 seconds ahead of his team leader. Team Sky now has two riders in the top two, with Jakob Fuglsang splitting the pair. Fuglsang may believe he could have taken the red jersey though; he suffered a slipped chain, just metres after the starting ramp.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Dan Martin took his first Grand Tour victory and moved in to the mountain’s jersey, as Bauke Mollema went in to red, on stage 9.
Martin sprinted the final metres of the climb and was almost caught, by a charging Mollema, but held out until the line. The Irishman had initially jumped off the front, with less than 5 kilometres to go, and was followed by his cousin, Nicolas Roche. The pair pulled out a small gap, but Roche was unable to keep up the pace and slid back in to the main group.
He was not on his own for too long, when he was joined by Vincenzo Nibali, and took out 15 seconds on his nearest riders. Michele Scarponi tried to bridge the gap, but he eventually went out the other end and lost time. Sky duo, Chris Froome and Bradley really put the hammer down and took Mollema and Juan Jose Cobo with them.
Froome took first shift and powered his way up the climb, before Wiggins began to time-trial towards the finish line. The Londoner looked unbeatable at times, while the others struggled to keep up with his pace. One of the pre-Vuelta favourites, Jurgen Van Den Broeck cracked before the top and ended up almost 20 seconds on the group.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Joaquim Rodriguez demolished the field on the San Lorenzo de el Escorial, putting himself in to the leader’s jersey on Stage 8.
Rodriguez was the only one who looked even remotely comfortable, on a climb which went up to 23%. Michele Scarponi knew there was nothing he could do to stop the Spaniard and concentrated on keeping himself ahead of the other big contenders. He now sits 32 seconds ahead of his teammate Daniel Moreno, in the GC.
Igor Anton showed that he is on his way back to form, by crossing the line with the lead group. Also in the front group were Jurgen Van Den Broeck and cousins Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin. Sylvain Chavanel, who started the day in the red jersey, lost just over a minute to Rodriguez and slides down the standings, but stays in the top ten. Bradley Wiggins lost a further 25 seconds to Rodriguez, while Vincenzo Nibali struggled and lost 32 seconds.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Peter Sagan took the biggest victory of his short career, by beating his teammates to the line on Stage 6.
The Tour of Poland winner was the first of four Liquigas riders to take a top 5 spot, after the team used Vincenzo Nibali’s superior descending skills to push a break in the peloton. With 5km to go, the Italian team ripped the peloton apart and reached speeds of 89kph.
With 20 bonus points up for grabs and the red jersey within reach, Nibali was the clear favourite for the victory. There seemed to be some confusion and Sagan rounded two of his teammates, to take the victory by half a bikes length. Splitting the Liquigas group was Pablo Lastras; the Movistar rider bonked severely on stage 5, one day after his solo victory.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Joaquin Rodriguez doubled Katusha’s stage tally, after a solid performance from his team, as took victory in Valdepeñas de Jaén.
Katusha controlled the final kilometres of the stage and used, yesterday’s winner, Daniel Moreno to launch Rodriquez to the line. The Spaniard has come in to the Vuelta with good form, after winning the Vuelta a Burgos. Moreno’s performance has moved him in to within nine seconds of the overall lead, with Rodriguez 14 second behind him.
Wout Poels was the man who separated the two on the stage, a late surge from him fell just short of the victory. Michele Scarponi and Nicolas Roche have helped their GC contentions, both finishing just 11 seconds down on the winner. Last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali crossed the line 4 seconds later and sits 5th in the GC. He will take some beating, if anyone wants to take the Vuelta crown away from him.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Patrick Gretsch has boosted a bad week for HTC by taking the prologue of the USA pro cycling challenge.
Gretsch adjusted to the altitude the best, on the time-trial, to pip Christian Vande Velde by a mere two seconds. The 24-year-old has added this two his other two victories, as a pro rider, and will do his prospects for next year no harm. Brent Bookwalter, who finished third, was the first of three BMC riders to take a top ten position. George Hincapie and Cadel Evans finished only a second apart and seven seconds behind Gretsch.
Moreno sprinted to the mountain top finish and left Chris Anker Sorenson to cross the line three seconds later. The Katusha rider only has one other Vuelta stage to his name, which came on stage 15 of the 2007 race.
Sorenson jumped the gap between the peloton and the breakaway, with 7km to go, and went straight passed them. Moreno was soon to follow and powered away from the main bunch and joined the Saxo Bank rider and Guillaume Bonnafond, who had latched on to Sorenson’s wheel. Bonnafond couldn’t keep up with the high pace and the pair just about managed to stay away.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Pablo Lastras pulled off a stunning solo ride, to win stage 3 of La Vuelta and take control of the red jersey.
Lastras attacked, with 11 kilometres to go, as the leaders reached the final summit and his breakaway companions struggled to catch him. The Spaniard time-trialled to the end and gained a well earned 15 seconds, on the chasing group. He dedicated his victory to, last year’s 6th place rider, Xavi Tondo, who was killed in a freak accident earlier this year.
Sylvain Chavanel claimed second place, but it could have been more if he and the other chasers hadn’t argued over tactics. Lastras has a 20 second lead in the general classiment, with Chavanel sitting in second.
The breakaway began with Ruslan Pydgornyy, Nicolas Edet and Chavanel launching an attack, after 14km of riding. They were soon joined by Lastras and Markel Irizar, who finished third, and built up a gap of over seven minutes. Edet was the first to go, with 70 of racing left, when he dropped back to see the medical car and never regained the gap.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Chris Sutton caused an upset in the second stage of the Vuelta a Espana, as he beat the favourites, in the sprint to the line.
Sutton’s victory made it two for sky in one day, with Edvald Boasson Hagen taking the sprint in the Vettenfall Cyclassics. The small increase in the gradient, going in to Playas de Orihuela, caught a few people off guard, but Sutton had the legs on the bunch. The Aussie jumped on to the back wheel of Vicente Reynes, before leaping out of the group for his first solo Grand Tour victory.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Their hopes were severely dashed; when a freak accident caused the death of their main Vuelta hopeful Xavier Tondo. They will no doubt have him in mind and would love to have a victory, to dedicate to him. A couple of stage victories are what these rider will be looking to achieve; Marzio Bruseghin, Imanol Erviti, Chente García Acosta, Beñat Intxausti, Vasil Kiryienka, Ignatas Konovalovas, Pablo Lastras, David López, Ángel Madrazo, Sergio Pardilla, Rubén Plaza and Branislau Samoilau. They could even hold the red jersey, if they can pull out a good team time-trial.
AG2R La Mondiale
One of only two French teams, in the race, AG2R will be looking to show what they couldn’t, in this year’s Tour de France. Nicolas Roche will be looking to improve on his seventh place, from last year, but his lacklustre year could play against him. Joining him will be Guillaume Bonnafond, Dimitri Champion, Cyril Dessel, Steve Houanard, David Le Lay, Lloyd Mondory, Mathieu Perget and, the only other non-French rider, Matteo Montaguti. It is unlikely that the French team will really trouble the top GC positions, but they could gain another top-ten placing.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Peter Sagan claimed victory, at the Tour of Poland, on the final sprint, as Marcel Kittel claimed a fourth stage victory.
Sagan started the day three seconds down, on last year’s winner, Dan Martin, but the bonus points put him five seconds ahead of the Irishman. The Slovakian road champion used Kittle as his lead out man and enjoyed a double celebration, with the German.
Despite seeing his title denied at the last, Martin remained positive about the result. The Garmin-Cervelo rider chased down Wouter Poels, who had leaped off the front with around 500 metres to go, and claimed victory on the tour’s queen stage. It was this victory, as Sagan blew a gasket with 600m to go, that helped the Liquigas rider, on the final stage.
Joaquin Rodriguez took his first general classiment win, of the year, with victory in the Vuelta a Burgos.
Rodriguez was pipped to the line, by the defending champion Samuel Sanchez, on the first stage, but fought back for overall victory of 2011. Sanchez tried to sneak victory again, on the final stage, but the 21 second lead was too much. The Katusha rider looked comfortable, as he left the Tour de France King of the Mountains, on the final climb of the tour.
After looking like he would take the time back from Rodriguez, Sanchez ended up losing 1 minute 14 seconds. Rodriguez had the legs, after missing this year’s Tour de France and claimed the overall victory, by 34 seconds, ahead of his teammate, Daniel Moreno. Sanchez started the day in fourth and remained fourth, after losing time to Juan Jose Cobo Acebo.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Pierre Rolland has given French cycling something to become excited about, after winning the young riders classification in the Tour de France, last month.
Rolland was born 10th October 1986, to father John-Pierre and mother Chantal, in Gien, in Northern France. The only boy in his family Rolland has three older sisters; Stephanie, Françoise and Anne-Sophie.
In the Beginning
At 11-years-old, he and his family moved closer to the centre of Orleans, in 1999, which didn’t have any high level of sport, making cycling difficult for him. It wasn’t until he met, his soon to be best friend, Benjamin Gault, that he begun mountain biking. Rolland eventually moved over road cycling and, in 2004, he took 14th at the Junior Road Cycling World Championships.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Philippe Gilbert has dominated the post tour races, with four victories in the opening week.
The Belgian champion had to settle for third, in the Tour’s green jersey classification, but is now back in his own back yard. Gilbert opened up his account at the Natour Criterium Aalst, ahead of Samuel Sanchez and Ivan Basso. The Criterium Aalst is one of the oldest post tour crits, it was founded in 1934, and takes an 11 corner tour around the town.
Sanchez got his own back, the following day, with victory in Natourcriterium Roeselare and Thor Hushovd taking third. The new King of the Mountains had plenty of room to breathe, as the two sprinters fought it out behind him. Plenty of fans packed the streets to see the 55 laps, despite the bad weather.
Chris Horner is adding to his, already long, list of injuries, after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung,
Horner was one of a series of riders who had to pull out of the tour, after suffering heavy crashes. The American hit the deck on stage seven; he got back on his bike and continued to the end, despite suffering from severe concussion, a fractured rib, a broken nose and injuries to his leg. By the time he got to the finish line, he barely knew who or where he was.
He has since returned to Colorado and had begun training, for the Tour of Utah, but started complaining of pains in his side. Horner went to hospital and was diagnosed with a blood clot; he will begin blood thinning treatment, to remove the clot.